Quality Comes at a Price............

February 8, 2011

Viking Johnson has a 14 acre manufacturing facility based in the UK at Hitchin. A skilled and experienced workforce produces a range of pipe connections as well as repair and flow control products - more than 7,000 product lines are manufactured from raw materials, through fabrication, coating and product finishing.

The benefit to customers and end users is complete piece of mind. Viking Johnson controls all aspects of manufacture in the UK and has proven tested quality controls in place, such as ISO 9001 combined with an environmental policy accredited to ISO 14001. In addition, all products are tested by third party organisations including Det Norske Veritas, Lloyds Register, The American Bureau of Shipping and many others.

The Company ensures the right materials are used and standards adhered to, despite the fact the cost of metals has noticeably increased in recent years. Pig iron has for example risen by more than 20 % during 2010.

In today’s competitive environment, some low cost country sourcing of certain components is absolutely essential. VJ manufactures its castings overseas utilising its Crane China Sourcing Office based in Shanghai which ensures quality targets are met. However, the real difference between VJ and its competitors is a modern UK manufacturing facility, where the infrastructure has been in place for many years, which guarantees it can more effectively and consistently regulate and monitor product quality and supplier performance. Moreover, with manufacture & shipping of finished product from the Far East taking up to 18 weeks, changes in pattern of demand can be more easily accommodated by the UK facility, adding extra shifts to fulfill customer expectations.

Mark Hopes, Executive Group Sales & Marketing Director explains " it is important that the industry understands that competitors who offer couplings at far lower prices, totally manufactured in the Far East & China offer an alternative that although initially can look attractive, fails to meet the standards demanded and ultimately will more than likely fail underground."

The majority of VJ products undergo accelerating ageing tests which ensures a design life of 50 years and VJ has made considerable investments during the last 80 years in refining existing product and developing new ones. This is the lifeblood of the industry. The fact that VJ has won 2 awards from SBWWI in recent years for the Through Bore Hydrant and the Remote Repair Clamp is testimony to the Company's prowess and intention to invest in developing new products.

During 2010, further work at the Hitchin site has been completed on a new manufacturing structure that has developed the capabilities of the facility. The result is the small and large product value streams have been upgraded and the latter will be significantly enhanced with a multi-million pound investment due for completion in 2011. There will, of course be a number of benefits including enhanced plant availability, reduced HSE risks but perhaps, most importantly customer lead times will be greatly improved.

The true issue is, in challenging environments 'Caveat Emptor' - buyer beware is even more applicable - if it is priced too cheaply, it probably is, too good to be true.

For more information please contact Simon Shand-Brown, Group Marketing Communications Manager, on 01473 277300 or sshand-brown@crane-ltd.co.uk.

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Press & Media Contacts

Simon Shand-Brown
Crane Building Services & Utilities
Group Marketing & Communications Manager
01473 277300